Philanthropists Navin and Pratima Doshi Make Yet Another Donation: LA Gets Doshi Center for Integrative Medicine
Dr. Navin Doshi (center), an Indian American career aerospace engineer at NASA; seen here flanked by Dr. John Hagelin (right), president of MIU; and Pratima Doshi, at the launch of the Doshi Center for Integrative Medicine in Los Angeles. (photo provided)
By NIMMI RAGHUNATHAN/India-West
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – In the midst of a global health crisis, the Maharishi International University opened the Doshi Center for Integrative Medicine here on the morning of May 14.
A $5 million donation in the form of a two-story building, in a prime locale on Sepulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles, by Indian American philanthropists Navin and Pratima Doshi had made this possible, announced Dr. John Hagelin, president of MIU, at an online event and a small in-person audience.
Well known in Southern California for their support of research and study of India and its traditions, for the Doshis, this marks one more in a series of donations to academic institutions. While the couple’s endowments support chairs on Indic systems and history at public and private schools like UCLA and Loyola Marymount, the new Doshi Center is envisaged to run as a clinic for treatment, training, and research on Ayurveda.
Hagelin said patients will be able to get medical evaluations from both a Western medical doctor and an ayurvedic vaidya working alongside each other. He said the Center would also serve as a residential site during clinical training for the hundreds of online students enrolled in their undergraduate and graduate programs.
The Center is currently open for two days a week and by Fall is expected to expand to all days of the week under the aegis of medical supervisor Dr. John Zamarra, a Los Angeles cardiologist, and vaidya Dr. Manohar Palakurthi. The latter, in his talk, compared the Doshis to a leader from mythology, King Rantideva, who is credited to have said, “I do not have desire for kingdom or birth-lessness but just mitigating the sorrows of the living.”
Earlier, Navin Doshi, in remarks that were sweeping and personal, seemed to confirm the sentiment saying, “Money, like blood, is the life energy of all social systems. Circulation must continue to keep the living organism alive and vital.” The philanthropist said that “earthly pleasures” were short lived, but charitable acts were feel-good acts that lasted forever, engendered by spiritual, material and mental interconnectedness.
Doshi was candid, openly acknowledging the benefits of giving and the ensuing tax breaks. But he also was moving when he said, “When I die, materially everything including my possessions stays here with my dead body, but my good deeds will stay in minds of most people.”
Explaining what drove the couple to give to MIU, he pointed to the holistic education that is provided on the campus as well as the simple living that was embraced by the people there, most of whom had eschewed lucrative careers that their talent and ivy league education could have garnered.
Later, the same evening, speaking to India-West at a celebratory dinner event held at the Sanatan Dharma Temple in Norwalk, Doshi said he was not thinking about legacy even if in his speeches he was mentioning death and what would be left behind after one was gone. He was just happy to be able to give, he said.
Asked if he was in the Warren Buffet-like mode to give away his wealth instead of holding on to it for family, Doshi simply pointed to his wife and said, “if she agrees… and she does!” Pratima Doshi, in turn, smilingly alluded to the value that it was important to see oneself as part of a whole.
The Doshis had one more representation on the public platform, granddaughter Manali McCarthy, who along with MIU graduate Tara De Santis, set to music two works of the verse, “Unity” and “Now,” written by Navin Doshi. The young duo performed them to much appreciation.
Both the morning and evening events had a slew of speakers. At the former, the faculty from Fairfield, Iowa, as well as those in Los Angeles were introduced. They included Dr. Robert Schneider, who heads the Department of Physiology and Health at MIU and of which the Doshi Center will be a part; Dr. Paul Morehead, associate dean of the College of Integrative Medicine; and Dr. Anitha Garlapathi, an internist from San Diego. In Norwalk, speaking of the importance of the Doshi donation were Prof. Christopher Chapple of Loyola Marymount University; Louise Allison of the Transcendental Meditation Program, Coastal Orange County; and Prof. Deepak Shimkhada, adjunct faculty, Chaffee College.